Tobacco funds for children, not farmersRecently, many...


May 02, 1999

Tobacco funds for children, not farmers

Recently, many articles in the media have discussed aid to Maryland tobacco farmers from the national tobacco settlement. It should be noted that approximately half of the more than 700 "tobacco" farmers in Maryland have other jobs and simply grow tobacco on the side for additional income.

Most people, including Gov. Parris N. Glendening, are sympathetic to the plight of the real tobacco farmer.

The governor is willing to allocate 5 percent of the settlement funds to help them transfer to other crops or buy their land. However, he was quoted as saying: "I won't use the money to subsidize tobacco growing. I think it's illogical."

I applaud the governor's position. the state has absolutely no reason to support the growing of our nation's most deadly addictive drug. Since much of Maryland's tobacco crop is shipped overseas, many of the farmers may continue to grow tobacco and prosper, but let them do so at their own risk.

The tobacco settlement money should be used to keep our children from getting hooked, to enforce our laws against selling tobacco to children and to help smokers kick addictions.

John H. O'Hara, Bowie

The writer is president of Maryland Group Against Smokers' Pollution.

Another side to Chick-Fil-A story

I recently read a news article indicating that Chick-Fil-A was resubmitting its application for special exception for a restaurant of Executive Park Drive in Ellicott City.

A hearing is set before the Howard County Board of Appeals on June 6. I resigned from the board effective June 1, and will not sit on the panel that hears this case.

The article about the special exception indicated that the reason for the 2-2 deadlock on the board was that a variance for a trash bin enclosure was the issue. What arrogance if the applicants suggested that.

The problem for the special exception was traffic hazards and safety of the residents in the area. A specific safety factor was for students at a school bus stop across the road from the area sought for the special exception. The problem is exacerbated because there are no sidewalks in that area or near that bus stop.

As one of my former colleagues on the board used to say, "It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure this out." The safety issue was why I voted against this special exception and the only reason.

This applicant should be turned down if it does not address the safety issue, which apparently it does not intend to do.

Donald B. W. Messenger, Laurel

Demand reforms in veal production

Material received from the Farm Animal Reform Movement states that to produce veal, dairy calves are chained by the neck and cramped in crates where they can only stand or lie down scrunched in their own excrement.

They are denied natural food, water, bedding, fresh air, sunshine and mother's comfort. The animals suffer from chronic anemia, diarrhea and respiratory disorders. They are kept alive with incessant antibiotics which through the food chain weaken human ability to fight infection. Veal is loaded with saturated fat and cholesterol.

The European Union requires veal calves to be able to move about. The United Kingdom bans the veal crate altogether.

We should stop buying "milk-fed" veal that is produced this way until factory farmers, meat packers and pharmaceutical companies have publicly and broadly refuted their production conditions.

Sam Calaby, Columbia

All is not right in our great country

I am filled with anger and disgust at the state of our country today. Tax time has just passed, and I am still reeling from the vast sum of my money the federal government feels it is entitled to.

I am a single female, 45 years old, earning $45,000 annually, and, therefore, am not entitled to many tax breaks. Why should I receive tax breaks when I have never married nor procreated?

I am the head of my household but not by Internal Revenue Service standards. Why does the federal government feel that I am less deserving than people with families? Not that people with families have it easy either, at least not people who have paid into the system.

If you have no money and no command of the English language, by all means come to the United States. We will clothe, house, feed you, provide medical coverage and support you in every way. Our hard-working taxpayers are happy to provide for you at the expense of their families.

And why are we paying so much into Social Security? Its not as though this program will be around to support any of us at 65. Of course, if I were to become a drug addict or an alcoholic, I would be eligible for SSI benefits now.

Why work, why kick the habit when society will support you? Wouldn't it be better to get welfare, get the medical card, get food stamps and SSI and have lots of time to waste in front of the TV, courtesy of tax dollars? After all, Uncle Sam says it's OK.

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